Quiet Title Actions: Resolving Ownership Disputes in Real Estate

Are you and someone else both claiming rights to the same home or piece of land? Are you unable to reach an agreement about property ownership? Or are you looking to verify that a property doesn’t have any encumbrances before transferring it to its new owner or acquiring it yourself? If so, quiet title actions can be effective for resolving ownership disputes in real estate, as they determine who a property’s true owner is among interested parties when ownership is unclear. 

What Are the Steps Involved in Filing a Quiet Title Action?

First, a real estate lawyer or title company needs to do a search of title to locate and recognize any possible encumbrances to the property in question.

As for how property ownership disputes such as the aforementioned are resolved, it generally involves clearing up inaccuracies recorded by the county on the deed, including any lienholder claims, before true ownership rights are assigned. Negotiations between the interested parties may be part of this. In many cases, one of the parties claiming an ownership stake in the same property will agree to pay off the other for full rights to it. 

However, sometimes negotiations hit a standstill. Situations like those may involve you bringing documentation to your nearest county courthouse showing evidence that you indeed own the property in question as part of the quieted title process. Counsel will analyze the information supplied that shows that you’re the true owner and ultimately decide how to proceed to clear the title. 

Situations Where Title Quieting May Be Appropriate

As referenced above, current or prospective owners of real estate often look to perform quiet title actions when planning to sell their homes to ensure it’s not encumbered by any liens to ensure they won’t experience any unexpected challenges or incur any surprise costs when trying to transfer their home to others.

Boundary disputes, such as ones where two parties share adjacent properties and dispute who has rights to a particular feature, like a driveway or a body of water, often culminate in a quiet title action so that true ownership of that asset can be determined.

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for the executor of an estate to initiate a quiet title action to determine if an heir has a right to the property or before distributing assets to heirs. In the case of the latter, an executor often does this to ensure the transferred real estate isn’t encumbered (that there’s a clear title) before it becomes their own. If that executor finds there is a lien on the property, they would be able to have the estate potentially pay off any outstanding amount due. 

How Our Property Law Attorneys Can Assist With a Quiet Title Action To Resolve Your Real Estate Dispute

Purchasing a property is one of the most expensive transactions you’ll likely ever be involved in. While having deeds pulled and checked for any potential encumbrances can add extra time to the closing process on your property, doing this can save you from enduring unnecessary headaches and expenditures down the road. 

And, on the flip side of the coin, if you and someone else are embroiled in a dispute over who the real owner is of a property, you probably have some idea as to how contentious these conflicts can get if allowed to get out of hand instead of resolving them early on. They can become long and drawn out, leaving you with hefty legal bills. 

Our legal team at Anderson Jones, PLLC can discuss whether a quiet title action is an ideal solution for you and, if not, what is, beginning with an initial consultation. Contact our law office to discuss your property matters today.